2012 Olympics: U.K. Boosts Wireless Capacity Ahead of the ‘Biggest Media Event in History’

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With more than 26,000 of the world’s media based in London for the Games, media regulator Ofcom says demand will be at its highest ever level.


LONDON – U.K. media authorities are preparing for what they promise will be the “biggest media event in history” by boosting the U.K.’s wireless signal handling capacity and spectrum ahead of the 2012 Olympic Games.

To meet the extra huge demand from broadcasters using ever more advanced technology, the London 2012 Organizing Committee will borrow additional spectrum capacity from the defense department as well as using capacity freed up by analog switch-off and currently unlicensed spectrum.

Around 26,000 journalists, cameramen, photographers and broadcasters are expected to descend on London for the Games, creating “unprecedented” broadband and wireless demand, media regulator Ofcom said Monday.

New technologies including wireless microphones, wireless networks for secure communications between team members, sports officials and support staff as well as the increased use of wireless cameras to achieve dramatic close-ups are expected to lead to more than double normal demand, the regulator said.

“From cameras on motorbikes chasing Mark Cavendish’s progress in the cycle road race to the camera crews inside the Olympic stadium aiming to get that special picture of stars like Usain Bolt, Jessica Ennis or Mo Farah, broadcasters and the media will be placing more demand on the U.K.’s spectrum reserves than ever before,” a spokesman for Ofcom said.

The media regulator has been running capacity tests at recent events like the Royal Wedding at Westminster Abbey last summer and the Formula One Grand Prix at Silverstone race course to check its new spectrum assignment system.

“Ofcom recognizes that there is no room for complacency,” said Ofcom COO Jill Ainscough. “We are working behind the scenes to make this capacity available and to ensure demand is met.”